Wednesday, April 23, 2014

So, Yeah - I'm Running the Walt Disney World Marathon

This is a public outing.  This is a "thing".

After 11 half marathons, I just registered for my first full.  Yup - 26.2 miles.

Why on earth would I want to do that?  For the Best.  Reason.  Ever. 

 Everyone else was doin' it.

In this case, "everyone else" are the DisBroads.  Out of the 10 of us, 8 are headed to the Big Show and we're dragging our pal Wendy along, too.  (April's cooking a baby and Summer is up to her eyeballs in New House Drama.  Excused.)

If it were anywhere else, you would get a resounding "Hell - to - the - no!".  But... it's Disney World.  You run through all four parks.  There are characters.  I'll get the chance to ride a freakin' roller coaster DURING the marathon!  Are you pickin' up what I'm layin' down here?

And - all my friends are doing it.  It keeps coming back to that.  Is that a good enough reason to run a marathon?  Don't know.  But I'm non-refundably registered, so that ship has pretty much sailed.  

Let's face it - I've done less healthy things due to peer pressure.  

I was slightly freaking out.  Somehow, once I hit that "submit" button, this @$%^ got real.

It's done.  It's on.  And I welcome the challenge.  Half marathons, while never "easy", are no longer scary for me.  There is a little bit of a thrill to trying something you've never done before and have no idea you can even do.  Something that you know is going to hurt, but that's what will make it worth it.  Bragging rights.

And.... doing it with my friends.  'Cause I'm fun like that.

So, I'm in, y'all.  I'll be a 44 year old mom of 3 when I run my first marathon.  That's bad-ass.  Who's with me?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Weekly Dose of Disney: Pin Trading For The Beginner!

It started out innocently enough.  We were on our Disney cruise in 2012 and Thing 1 had "Grandma Money" burning a hole.  Since he's a hoarder  collector of pretty much anything, he gravitated toward the pins - anything where there is a bunch of something.  He picked out these two:

A pin here and there from my trips.  I didn't realize that I was feeding the Beast.  He wanted more, man!  

 When I surprised him with his one-on-one birthday trip to Orlando in February, I sweetened the pot.  I bought a lot of 25 pins off eBay for him to trade while in the parks!  I highly recommend this method - you get a pile of pins for waaaay cheaper than you can purchase them in the parks.  Your child can look through and pull out any they want to keep and tuck those away.  Bring the rest with you to Disney!  

For trading etiquette, you can view the official guidelines, but here are the basics:

  • Pins must be metal pins and have the Disney logo stamped on the back - no "unofficial" pins are accepted for trade.
  • Any Cast Members wearing a pin lanyard will trade pins with you.  The only caveat to this is that CM's wearing a green lanyard will only trade with children.  Some CM's working at merch carts but not wearing a lanyard could still trade - ask them.  Many have a small binder of pins they keep under the register.  
  • Pin trading doesn't occur in just the parks - I have seen pin trading boards in resort gift shops and any CM on Disney property wearing a lanyard full of pins is open for asking!  
  • Pin trading with other resort guests is less common, but does occasionally occur.  

  • From time to time, there will be pin traders set up outside the pin stations at Epcot and Downtown Disney.  These are NOT Disney Cast Members. Go ahead and trade, but in this situation know that the pin trader may insist on trading pins for like value.  Cast Members will trade with you regardless of the value of the pin you are offering them.  

Each of the guide maps for the 4 parks note where you can find pin trading locations.  Downtown Disney has a pin store that opens up a large bulletin board for trading from time to time - all guests must form a line and one guest at a time is allowed up to the board with a Cast Member.  You can trade up to two pins at the board.  (A parent is allowed to go with a young child).  

What did my son find so fun about pin trading?  Since he was starting with a bunch to trade, it was like shopping without spending money!  He found one he wanted, and he would use a pin he didn't want as currency to get it.  For the boy who has never met a gift shop he didn't like, this was Heaven on Earth.  

The mom in me liked the lesson he was getting in being social.  Although he's 12, he's pretty shy.  It was up to him to approach the CM's himself and ask them if they would trade with him.  I loved watching him gain confidence in speaking to adults who were guaranteed to be friendly!  

At first he traded randomly but as he continued trading, he started to cobble together something of a collection within his collection.  He had never seen a Vinylmation before this trip, but he really liked the pins in that style and started looking for those.

Mickey head?  He likes those, too.

I can tell his favorites - they are the ones one of us purchased and he hasn't taken off the backing card!

One of his favorite finds was after I purchased his "Happy Birthday" pin - one of the CM's in the store had a "12" pin on her lanyard - the age he was celebrating that day!

If you are lucky, you can snag some limited edition pins through special events.  Here are a few that are in Thing 1's permanent collection:
I snagged him this from Disney Movie Rewards before the New Fantasyland opened:

All he asked for when I ran the 2013 Wine & Dine Half was a pin from the Christmas party.  Done.

When I ran the Tinker Bell Half at Disneyland, this was a necessary souvenir to mark the occasion.

Overall, he has a pretty good collection going! 

We haven't put them into any kind of special display because he likes to pull them out and look at them.  He's got his eye on a special binder in which to put them all but he hasn't decided for sure.

Are you a pin trader?  Do you have any special tips for other pin traders?

Monday, April 21, 2014

How To Find Time For... Everything?

I was trying to come up with a post for "Motherhood Monday".  Saturday night.  Not quite last minute, but close.  I was getting nothing.  

To be honest, I was in the middle of a crisis of confidence over the blog.  Over at The DisBroads, we joke about being #KindOfABigDeal.  But in truth I am but a still kinda wrinkly newborn in the Mommy Blogosphere.  

I want to improve upon that, so I started thinking about how best to use my time to that aim.  There are all kinds of guides out there suggesting how you use your time.  

Okay - now how do I plug that in with what else I need to do every day?  I've got a schedule for cleaning the house, too - that's important to my husband so I need to take time to do that since he makes it possible for me to stay at home.  

Oh - and working.  I do that occasionally.  Church nursery doesn't take a lot of hours, but it's there and it gets me a little extra cash.  So, we make time for that, too.  

I wouldn't be a Mommy Blogger without the kids.  Yeah - them.  I think it's pretty much understood that they take a buttload of time.  

Almost forgot running.  'Cause I haven't been doing it lately.  But I need to get back into that habit, too.  Sigh.  Maybe at least I can catch up on "Once Upon A Time" if I use the treadmill.  (Oh, look at the irony there!)  

Can you make time for everything?  I think you can.  But can you do everything you want and do it WELL?  I hope so, and I believe I will make it my new mission to find out.  Bear with me, because I'll need all the support I can get!  I'm one big bruise from repeatedly falling off a wagon of some form or another.  I need some safety rails on this one, and that's you guys.  

I took my son to the craft store today.  There were photo boxes on sale and I have never met a container that I didn't like.  On the side were the words "Life promises nothing but adventure".  I liked that.  The words on the top were, "Now is the time to make the world...." with a wrapper covering up the final word.  Prettier?  Nicer?  Better?  

I bought the box.  Took off the wrapper.  

Do you struggle with time?  What's your best time-management tip?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blogger Opp!  Coach Tote Giveaway Event!

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Fun Friday: The High Museum of Art

If you have been reading, you will recall that I was planning an eventful yet frugal Spring Break.  We started at a local park and hit Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw via Groupon.  A friend offered us her guest passes to the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  Rounding out our Spring Break fun was a pleasant surprise!  I won tickets to the Go West exhibit at The High Museum of Art from Sue Rodman, of Field Trips With Sue!  I highly recommend you sign up for Sue's newsletter in order to keep up with tons of great happenings in Atlanta and beyond!  

While I was thrilled to win the tickets, I wondered how much my kids would really enjoy the High.  I got the answer almost immediately after we started exploring!  The very first thing we came upon was a room just for kids!  

The room was full of hands-on activities.  Drawing stations, a magnetic wall, puppets that were definitely for touching, and super cool foam building pieces.  My guys had a great time in there!  

When I finally dragged them out, it was with impatience to see the main exhibit, Go West.  First, though, a stop at the cafe downstairs for Dirt Pudding and the yummiest chicken-spinach salad.  Guess who ate which item:

Finally - Go West!  

The exhibit was full of art from different mediums.  Kids being kids, my men seemed most interested in the 3D art - sculptures and the displayed items crafted by Native Americans.  I was gratified to see my oldest son, 12, note certain types of paintings and guessing at the materials used.  He's a budding artist himself and it was fun to see which pieces held his attention and why.  

Fun for both the kiddos was, of course a very modern device in the midst of the Old West surroundings!  The computer program held various backgrounds of paintings; the kids could add in other items - people, animals, landscaping - to make their own masterpiece!  After Thing 3 was on there long enough to add about 400 buffalo and a jeep to his Old West landscape, it was time to move on.  

We finished the exhibit and wandered into a few other galleries.  I was again interested in what my oldest would think.  We laughed over the abstract works that you look at and think, "I could totally do that in my basement."  

I wanted to mention a really cool exhibit that we just stumbled into.  Thing 1 was drawn to a display of photography that was manipulated with different techniques.  He's a nature-lovin' boy, so he was pretty fascinated.  

We toured the Morell exhibit and had fun pointing out the most interesting photos.  This was my boy's favorite:

This picture does not AT ALL do it justice; I really only snapped the picture to remember the print for later.  We hit the gift shop in hopes they would perhaps have a postcard of some of Morell's prints.  They did, but not from this particular exhibit. But I love that my son was exposed to a collection of work from an artist that he really seemed to appreciate.  

My guys were growing weary and a little bit visually overstimulated.  There was SO much more to see; I would love to bring my oldest back on a "date" some time to show him more.  

The Go West exhibit has closed; up next is an exhibit titled "Dream Cars"  that I'm sure all three of my sons would enjoy!  It opens May 21st.  

Thanks again to Field Trips With Sue and the High Museum of Art for helping us round out or Spring Break on a Budget!   Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hump Day Update

No Workout Wednesday today since I haven't been running - whomp whomp.  Momma's taking a little break but will be back at it soon; the Peachtree Road Race isn't gonna run itself, ya know!

Here is, however, a check-in of what's been going on, what's coming up:

Pinterest:  I love Pinterest.  

I"m totally revamping my Mom's Magical Miles Pinterest boards, but doing it a little at a time - nobody  likes a flooder.  A flooder is someone who spends 2 hours on Pinterest, pinning images of, say, vintage toilet pull chains.  All you see when you pull up your Pinterest account is toidy parts for columns and columns.  I don't wanna hog your feed.  I'll give you the heads up when it's ready, but in the meantime head on over and follow me - watch the progress!  If you follow me on Pinterest as "Amy Albers", please do me a solid and follow me as Mom's Magical Miles - I'm going to be using that one primarily.  

I still owe you posts from our Spring Break Adventure - we hit the High Museum of Art on the last day of our break.   

Springtime in the ATL rocks, because we've found all kinds of things to do, including The Atlanta History Center's Sheep To Shawl event!  1850's history in a kid-friendly style - my guys had a blast.  And a petting zoo.  Because I hear those were big pre-Civil War.

Let's talk Disney.  Always.

Registration for the WDW Marathon Weekend opens today at noon for Annual Pass Holders and DVC owners.  Are you in?  Some of us have to wait for regular old non-magical AP registration on the 22nd.  That's right - I'm putting it out there.  I'm joining a handful of the DisBroads running our first full marathon.  I have lost my mind.  

If you will be joining me in this madness, be sure to check in with Jenn Greene at Destinations in Florida.  She just got in amazing rates on select Disney resorts.  She also has access to discount tickets for her bookings, so fill out a quote request and see what she can put together for you!  Oh - you don't have to be running to get these deals!  

Finally, the reminders of what I am promoting - because Momma has obligations:

Lego KidsFest Atlanta - get your discount tickets!   Better yet, win some from me!  Read about it and enter here.  We are actually planning summer camp and vacation around this date so that we don't miss it!

If it's getting hot where you are and you ARE running.... ahem.... don't forget the Cocogo!  I've had the chance to have several ambassadorships, but they were things that I would not have bought or been involved with if I wasn't given a discount or freebie so I turned them down.  I'm a proud Cocogo Real Fruit Hydration ambassador because I use it, love it and have made it a staple in my running gear drawer.  The code "MomsMagicMiles" gets you 40% off the purchase of 2 or more boxes at the Cocogo store!  

Hope your week is going great and we'll see you on Friday for our High Museum visit!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Vs. Kindle for the ADHD Child?

My oldest son was holding out on me.  

He's ADHD, emphasis on the "H".  For the longest time, it was a struggle to get him to read anything without pictures - Big Nate, Wimpy Kid, that sort of thing.  I foolishly thought he struggled with reading.  I thought he was self-conscious because his younger brother is a voracious, advanced reader.

After going through a battery of edu-testing for his ADHD diagnosis, the boy's report came in - well above average in fluency and comprehension.  Say what?!  Time to step it up, Sparky.

Just setting expectations, however, does not get the bulldog fed.  The bulldog, in this case, is his middle school requirement of reading 25 books of at least 150 pages in length during the school year.  He tried to argue with me that Big Nate had over 150 pages but I stomped that weaksauce attempt pretty early in the year.

It's been a struggle.  He's logged 18 books so far and he's only got a month left in the school year.

Hello, Kindle.

There is something about the Kindle that is friendlier to his brain than an actual book.  I am NOT any kind of expert - just a mom with a struggling kid.  But I noticed that he whips through a book on my Kindle in twice the time it would take him to read that same book in the traditional format.

My theory is that when he sees the thickness of the book and how many pages are in a chapter, his impatient heart dies a little.  His brain starts shutting down, already advancing to how long this chapter is going to take, how many pages this book has.  On the Kindle, it's just what is in front of him.  That's it.  No pressure.

Somehow, that's magical.

I haven't needed to play with my settings, but this is the beauty of my Kindle Fire - you can do all sorts of things to manipulate what is on the screen to make it more reader-friendly for your child.

First, the background.  You can leave it traditional white but if that's too much of a glare you can change it to a less stark beige color.  Also, you can flip it to a negative effect and have white words on a black background.  Even if that isn't required to help your child's processing, sometimes just the novelty of changing the screen appearance will be enough to keep a kid focused.

Play with the settings.  The drop down menu has all kinds of good stuff.

The tabs up top with the letters allow you to adjust the font size.  The second row is where you select the background color.  Third row allows you the choice of making the text less wide.  Finally, the last row allows you to increase the spacing, again giving you the advantage of making less words on one page if that is a factor in your child's reading.

Okay, that's great but.... do I really plan on buying that last 7 books my kid needs to read?  Nope.  Not all of them.  I can make a few purchases that might be $5 or $6 dollars but I plan on visiting our library's online collection.  The above Sea of Monsters?  Yup - downloaded from our library's e-book collection.  There are a lot of other books on that are inexpensive daily deals or free, including tons of "classics"!  My older kids love the entire series of Wizard of Oz books and they cost nothing on Kindle.

Have a reluctant reader?  Give a Kindle a shot!

I was not compensated in any way for this post.  Just a mom trying to help others find what works!